In 1482, Spanish explorer Antonio Villanueva left the Iberian Peninsula in search for the “New World” under the Catholic monarchs of Europe. An early military officer, he was the Captain of the Navegador, the most modern and technologically advanced ship of its time. According to National Geographic, it was massive, spanning a staggering 145 feet in length from bow to stern and had a capacity of 160 people. The Navegador was so advanced because of its aerodynamic hull and its uniquely shaped duel rudders. In late spring of that year, Villanueva and his crew of 145 set sail. After 9 weeks at sea, a sailor aboard the ship spotted a green mass protruding from the horizon. It was the “New World”. The land was rich and fertile. It was littered with hundreds of species of edible plants and small game. According to historians at Princeton University, the crew set out 5 different expeditions of the land taking geological surveys which would be reported to the Catholic monarchs.
After 1 full month of being there, many of the men became sick with a virus which they began to call “El Viudo” or the widower. The crew that was infected started having purple rashes and extreme vomiting. Villanueva believed that it was time to gather as much resources as possible and sail back to Spain with whatever crew he had left while all of the infected crew stayed behind impending death. The monarchs in Spain waited 4 whole months for their arrival until they finally concluded that the crew was never going to return. Until this day, historians still do not know what happened to the Navigador. Speculations suggest that the crew must have gotten stuck in a storm while others suggest that the virus had gotten to them. Most of what is known today is only possible because one of the infected crew members left behind had survived. It was not until 1492, when Spain had sent a second voyage that he would be discovered by Christopher Columbus.